A Bird, a Plane, You!
You get to choose one superpower. Pick one of these, and explain your choice:
- the ability to speak and understand any language
- the ability to travel through time
- the ability to make any two people agree with each other
I think the most useful thing would be to speak and understand any language. It sure beats going back and forth through time. And I can’t see any point in forcing any two people to agree with each other if they really don’t.
Often, though, I’ve wished I could understand and speak more than English and a smattering of Spanish and German. I understand more of both those languages than I can speak, and if I see them written, I can sometimes figure out what is being said.
So many other countries begin teaching English to their students when they first start school. I know there is more of that being done here in the USA, and I hope that trend continues. It’s all well and good that English has become the universal language of business and politics, but it would be so much better if we Americans were conversant in another widely-used language.
Speaking as an English teacher, I remember well how studying German in high school and college helped me understand English grammar more clearly. When learning another language, one must memorize verb conjugations, tense, gender, and case. Doing so helped me understand all those things in English.
As a matter of fact, I wish we were doing a better job of teaching English here in the States. When I was working on my master’s degree, I wrote 47 ten-to-twenty-page papers. When you multiply that by 20 or more students per class, it’s a lot of reading for the professor. One professor handed me a couple of papers my classmates had written and asked me to look them over. Puzzled, I sat down to read. I was shocked, to say the least, at the poor quality of writing from people in a graduate course. Punctuation, sentence structure, pronoun usage, simple things like proper spacing and capitalization, were practically non-existent. When I handed the papers back to the professor, I couldn’t think of anything to say except, “You have my sympathy.”
It’s very difficult to wade through writing that has no paragraphs and no continuity.
We need to do better.